Ride the waves!

How to shoot in the surf with a water­proof hous­ing

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Ready to take the plunge? Surf pho­tog­ra­phy is fast­paced and fun, and it’s eas­ier than you might think to get ac­tion­packed shots. All you need is a water­proof hous­ing and our guide to brav­ing the wa­ter with your Nikon.

You could al­ways stand on the beach with a zoom lens and get de­cent pic­tures of surfers, but if you want to shoot like the pros do, you’re go­ing to need to wade into the sea. Water­proof cam­era hous­ings are specif­i­cally de­signed to keep your Nikon com­pletely dry even when sub­merged in wa­ter, so that you can shoot con­fi­dently while in the ocean.

There are lots of soft and hard hous­ings on the mar­ket; we used the beginner- (and pocket-!) friendly Aqua­pac. You’ll need to pro­tect your­self too – rent or buy a de­cent wet­suit and you’ll be able to stay in the wa­ter com­fort­ably for much longer.

Pro surf pho­tog­ra­phers are most likely to be shoot­ing big breaks on the shores of Hawaii or Bali, but your lo­cal beach is fine for learn­ing the ba­sics. We headed to Fis­tral Beach in Newquay to pho­to­graph pro surfers

If you’re go­ing to shoot like the pros do, you’re go­ing to need to wade into the sea. Water­proof hous­ings are specif­i­cally de­signed to keep your Nikon com­pletely dry

Alan Stokes and Ce­line Gehret as they showed off their skills.

Good surf con­di­tions aren’t guar­an­teed, so you’ll need to keep an eye on the fore­cast and the size of the waves. Start off by stand­ing in shal­low wa­ter and shoot­ing the surfers head-on, then get in deeper and shoot par­al­lel to your sub­ject. The key, like with any sports pho­tog­ra­phy, is to get your surfer pin-sharp.

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